What You Need to Understand About Insurance “Preferred” Shops

Almost all insurance companies today have what are referred to as “DRP” or Direct Repair Programs. Auto body shops that are a part of these programs belong to referral networks created by insurance companies.

Unfortunately, this kind of referral relationship can often create a conflict of interest as the repair facility considers the insurance company to be their customer. The insurance company, therefore, becomes their top priority, at the expense of the vehicle owner.

At Performance Auto Collision, you, the vehicle owner, always come first… we are not willing to compromise quality or our commitment to customer service for any referral program. While we accept and work with all insurance companies, we will also manage your claim in a way that protects your interests. We will make sure you receive a high quality repair that’s safe, and protects the resale value of your car.

Understanding Car Insurance Company “Steering”

As a consumer, it’s important for you to understand that it’s in the insurance company’s interests for you to have your car repaired at a DRP shop. They consider this to be in their best interests because they can often dictate the kinds of parts and the repair procedures that will be used. This is rarely in your best interests, and mainly serves the interests of the insurance company.

Performance Auto Collision will negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, to make sure that your repair is complete. For this reason, they may try to steer you away from our shop, to a shop on their network that they can more easily control.

But isn’t steering illegal?

There are laws against steering in all 50 states. In Georgia, the law is as follows:

O.C.G.A. § 33-34-6 (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this Code section, no insurer shall represent to a person making a claim under a motor vehicle insurance policy that the use of or the failure to use a particular repair facility or particular repair facilities may result in the nonpayment of a claim.  (b) No insurer shall require a person making a claim under a motor vehicle insurance policy to use a particular repair facility or particular repair facilities in order to settle a claim if the person making the claim can obtain the repair work on the motor vehicle at the same cost from another source.

However, insurance companies may still try to steer you to their facility by making misleading statements, such as the following:

“That shop isn’t on our preferred network.”

Insurance companies often describe DRP shops as “preferred” to lead you to believe that those shops provide a higher quality of service. The reality of the situation is that insurance companies prefer DRP shops because they are more willing to use imitation aftermarket parts in your repairs, and sometimes even skip necessary repair procedures. This keeps costs down for the insurance company, but when you go to trade in your car, these practices will cost you money in the form of significantly lower resale value.

“We can’t warranty the work performed at that shop.”

Performance Auto Collision provides a Lifetime Warranty on all of their workmanship and paint. As a collision repair facility that is also certified by multiple major manufacturers, including Porsche, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and many more, we will also use genuine parts and approved repair procedures that will ensure all of your manufacturer warranties on parts are upheld. When imitation aftermarket parts are used, as so often happens at DRP shops, manufacturer warranties are often voided.

“That shop charges for parts and procedures that aren’t necessary.” Or “The charges at that shop are higher.”

Performance Auto Collision is certified by 22 major vehicle manufacturers for performing factory-correct collision repairs. We repair your vehicle according to their standards and specifications in order to restore your car to pre-accident condition.

In our experience, the initial insurance estimate is almost always a low ball estimate, inadequate to fully repair your vehicle. We then take over the handling of your claim, and our factory-certified technicians perform an in-depth damage analysis to document the full extent of the damage. We then write supplemental estimates proving the work that will be necessary to fully restore your vehicle to pre-accident condition, ensuring your vehicle is safe, that your manufacturer warranties are upheld, and that you get full resale value when you go to sell or trade in the car.

Some insurance companies may consider it unnecessary to perform work of this quality. However, it’s their obligation to you, the policyholder, to be restored to pre-accident condition. We help our customer through this process to make sure the insurance company delivers on this obligation.

“Claims take longer to settle at that shop.”

Insurance company shops are often built on a production model. In other words, they will often rush vehicles in and out of the facility as quickly as possible, which serves insurance company interests. In the process, necessary procedures get skipped, and sometimes dangerous shortcuts are taken.
At Performance Auto Collision, every repair undergoes a thorough damage analysis and rigorous Quality Check process. We do this to ensure customer satisfaction, and to deliver repairs that fully restore your vehicle.

Furthermore, insurance companies will sometimes intentionally delay the repair process when the vehicle is at a customer-focused shop in a well-documented strategy known as “Delay, Deny, Defend.” You can rest assured that as a manufacturer-certified shop, we’ve become experts at helping our customers through situations like this.

Know that Performance Auto Collision is dedicated to 100% customer satisfaction, which means that we will do everything in our power to:
Protect your financial interests, including working to preserve your factory warranties and the resale value of your vehicle.
Make sure your car is safe to go back on the road after repairs have been completed, by fully restoring your vehicle’s safety system.
Make sure that the repair process is as hassle free for the customer as possible, taking over the insurance management and negotiation process from the time you drop off your keys.

Contact Performance Auto Collision

For more information, or to contact a representative for a Free Estimate, call Performance Auto Collision at (770) 752-0099 or click here for a free estimate!

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